Wednesday, February 28, 2018

February Wrap-Up and Plans for March

I know that February is only a couple of days shorter than the other months, but it feels about a week shorter!


TBR Pile Challenge: Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones and Longbourn by Jo Baker. It's tempting to get cocky about the fact that I've already read 4 from my list and it's only February, but I'll resist that because I've got several nonfiction titles on there and I don't think they'll be easy.

Nonfiction: I read two nonfiction books this month: Nomadland by Jessica Bruder and Fetch by Nicole Georges

I read a total of 6 books this month, which is a little less than usual. I attribute that partly to the amount of tv I watched, but I also recognize that I usually listen to more audiobooks than I have recently. I still love audiobooks, but I've been listening to more podcasts than I used to.


Went to a restaurant this month that
had popcorn-flavored butter.
I repeat: popcorn-flavored butter.

My only audiobook this month was Tempest by Beverly Jenkins, the final book in the Old West series.

I'm listening to the same podcasts as always: Smart Podcast Trashy Books, The Readers, Code Switch, and By the Book. I still love them all! I do most of my listening on the bus and walking to the bus. I usually drive to work one day a week (when I work until 9pm) but this month I drove more frequently because of early interviews and evening programs and meetings. I think things will be back to normal in March, and I'm already thinking about what my next audiobook will be. I'm taking suggestions!


I watched Harlots this month, which I highly recommend if you have Hulu. 

Season 3 of The Great British Baking Show was better than Season 2 and I've already begun Season 4. I really dislike the new opening montage because it shows you things that are going to happen! Like, someone's baked good falling apart catastrophically when they tried to remove it from the pan. Why would you show us this ahead of time? Gah.

At the recommendation of a couple of coworkers I've started watching the new One Day At a Time, which I'm really liking so far. There's still a Schneider, but the family is Cuban-American and the mom is an Army Veteran and it's very interesting and modern and funny. Oh, and the mom is played by Justina Machado, who looked SUPER familiar to me, and it turns out she was Vanessa Diaz on Six Feet Under. She is super adorable and I love her.


All this tv means that I've actually been doing some knitting! The body and hood of my East Neuk Hoodie are done, including the trim around the hood, which involved picking up about a million stitches (slight exaggeration.) I've now got several inches of sleeve too, which is very exciting progress-wise but not knitting-wise. Sleeves are boring and kind of irritating, but necessary for overall warmth, so I'll be soldiering on.


Paul Hollywood would not
approve of my bread,
but fuck him.

I have spent a great deal of 2018 so far baking things and then eating them, which has got to stop. I need to re-focus on cooking rather than baking, with the exception of savory baking like bread. 

Last month I mentioned making an index of recipes I use so I don't need to look through every cookbook I own when trying to come up with ideas of what to make every week. I've put together an Excel spreadsheet with tabs labeled "rotation," "have made," "to try," and "sweets" (which I think merits it's own page) and I already feel more organized and like I have a better handle on what my options are when it's time to put together a grocery list.

I mentioned cooking with a friend last month, and we got together again - at his place this time because he doesn't have an irritating dog - and we made Spiced Sake Soba from the Wagamama cookbook, and I brought marinated mango for dessert from the same cookbook. I forgot how delicious and simple fruit desserts can be, and I really need to investigate these more. The dish itself is soba noodles and vegetables topped with salmon and a sauce. I picked this recipe because it looked like it was fairly easy and maybe I'd make it again. It was quite tasty and I'll try to make it again soon I think.

Other things I made this month: cheese enchiladas from Joy of Cooking, a chicken and rice salad for cookbook club at work (which I am possible running now?) from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, French-style fish in a packet from Moosewood Cooks at Home, Tamarind Chicken, Coconut Rice, and Sweet and Sour Tofu, all from Dinner by Melissa Clark, which I really need to buy rather than repeatedly checking out from the library. My baking included the bread from Joy of Cooking again, buttermilk biscuits and cornbread from America's Test Kitchen Cooking School Cookbook, and Cardamom Cookies from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. Oh, and these weird peanut butter cookies from Smitten Kitchen/Ovenly that came out flat and overdone on the outside but raw in the middle and I ate them anyway. I don't know why I feel compelled to list all the things I cooked this month, but it sure makes me feel like I accomplished something.


Sarah MacLean and Kristan Higgins!
Being awesome!

I saw some authors I really like at the Boston Public Library. There are only a few romance authors from whom I've read more than one book, and two of them were going to be appearing together. I was supposed to work, but swapped my Saturdays so I could go. It was Sarah MacLean and Kristan Higgins and they were SO GREAT. It was actually Sarah MacLean who reminded me I was interested in watching Harlots and spurred me to actually do so.

I also went to see a couple of shows, one of which was Waitress. It was cute and fun and I'm glad I went even though at the time it was pouring out and I was tired and wanted to stay home.

What else? Work was incredibly hectic as I was interviewing people for a full-time position in my department, but thank goodness we ended the month by hiring someone who I think will be fantastic.

In summary, most of my pictures this month were of bread. Sorry. I'll try to do better next month. Speaking of which....

Plans for March

I think my only exciting plan so far is that I'm going to see Roxane Gay at the Museum of Fine Arts in the middle of the month. It's on the night I work, so I rescheduled my book group and took the day off because I have priorities.

To be honest, I'm disappointed that I haven't been able to take time off during January of February, but I think other than Roxane Gay day, I won't have any vacation days until April. (Side note: can we start a new holiday and call it Roxane Gay Day?) 

How was your February?

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